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This scene would've looked very differently as recently as 17 years ago since the Gardiner Expressway came to an end at Leslie Street, a fair distance east of here. The bridge columns would've extended beyond what the eye could see here. In recent years, it has also come into question whether Keating Yard and the Portlands Spur itself may become a thing of the past as well. At this moment, it still exists and the City of Toronto appears to maintain intentions to keep the line open despite the Ashbridge's Bay treatment plant now being the sole reason this line continues to see shiny rails. The track south of the treatment plant that goes west to the docks also still exists, but hasn't been used in quite some time. Currently the tracks at Logan Avenue are ripped out due to a sewer project and apparent intentions to relocate the crossing. So for now, the Portlands Spur is inaccessible east of Keating and probably will be for some time. Even the Port Authority continues to maintain the track area around the docks, though nothing comes. Why the spur is even maintained at all is questionable as the cost to keep it open most likely far outweighs the savings from running chlorine tankers in and out by rail instead of by truck to the treatment plant. With the dock in Oshawa opening soon for rail service, it's debatable if maintaining track to Toronto's dock is even viable.

For some reason CN 543 decided to show up to Keating yard (runaround is probably a better term), probably to move stored cars in and out of the Lower Don yard tracks just west of Keating. With only four cars, and no chlorine tankers, it is evident they didn't come down here to switch the Ashbridge's treatment plant. Oakville yard based 4777 and 7080 are the power. Time will tell if the effort to keep this line open will continue. Although it appears Ashbridge's runs will continue as soon as the Logan Avenue crossing is restored. The next two weeks after this photo saw no 543 come down here, so this particular 543 must have come down to switch the Lower Don tracks. For now, CN operations in Toronto east of Yonge Street should be focused solely on CN 546, which is about all that's left in the city's legal limits besides the currently sporadic 543. West of Yonge Street is a completely different story of course, with switching operations at Mimico, Lambton, Etobicoke North and Downsview still going strong.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Daniel Odette all rights reserved.



Caption: This scene would've looked very differently as recently as 17 years ago since the Gardiner Expressway came to an end at Leslie Street, a fair distance east of here. The bridge columns would've extended beyond what the eye could see here. In recent years, it has also come into question whether Keating Yard and the Portlands Spur itself may become a thing of the past as well. At this moment, it still exists and the City of Toronto appears to maintain intentions to keep the line open despite the Ashbridge's Bay treatment plant now being the sole reason this line continues to see shiny rails. The track south of the treatment plant that goes west to the docks also still exists, but hasn't been used in quite some time. Currently the tracks at Logan Avenue are ripped out due to a sewer project and apparent intentions to relocate the crossing. So for now, the Portlands Spur is inaccessible east of Keating and probably will be for some time. Even the Port Authority continues to maintain the track area around the docks, though nothing comes. Why the spur is even maintained at all is questionable as the cost to keep it open most likely far outweighs the savings from running chlorine tankers in and out by rail instead of by truck to the treatment plant. With the dock in Oshawa opening soon for rail service, it's debatable if maintaining track to Toronto's dock is even viable.

For some reason CN 543 decided to show up to Keating yard (runaround is probably a better term), probably to move stored cars in and out of the Lower Don yard tracks just west of Keating. With only four cars, and no chlorine tankers, it is evident they didn't come down here to switch the Ashbridge's treatment plant. Oakville yard based 4777 and 7080 are the power. Time will tell if the effort to keep this line open will continue. Although it appears Ashbridge's runs will continue as soon as the Logan Avenue crossing is restored. The next two weeks after this photo saw no 543 come down here, so this particular 543 must have come down to switch the Lower Don tracks. For now, CN operations in Toronto east of Yonge Street should be focused solely on CN 546, which is about all that's left in the city's legal limits besides the currently sporadic 543. West of Yonge Street is a completely different story of course, with switching operations at Mimico, Lambton, Etobicoke North and Downsview still going strong.

Photographer:
Daniel Odette [132] (more) (contact)
Date: 02/16/2017 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 4777 (search)
Train Symbol: CN L54331 15 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 3.8 Portlands Railway Spur (search)
City/Town: Toronto (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
Share Link: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=28629
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9 Comments
  1. It leaves Oakville on tuesdays ad 9:00 PM right?

  2. Will this train be running later tonight?

  3. The regular crew on 546 out of Oshawa has weekends off, so its a spare crew that works the job. It still operates from Oshawa at 2100 hrs

  4. Thanks guys! Seeing that Castrol is on the south side with the switch facing west, I would almost guarantee it is done on the way to Mimico. So probably around 10pm-12am. I would assume it doesn’t get served more than twice a week. 543 usually came to the Portlands as late as 1:30am. They’re not rushed by any means, so they take their time coming down here.

    Update: The track at Logan Avenue has already been reinstalled, even though a week earlier there was a massive hole in the ground there. I’d imagine the track will be ready for 543 to return to Ashbridge’s for early Thursday morning.

  5. Great shot. I’ve gone down there many times around 12 – 1 am and have never caught any action. I did see what I assume was 543, slowly rolling through the Long Branch Go Train station on a Sunday night at around 11pm. Any ideas what time the 543 (I assume), switches the Castrol facility in Long Branch?

  6. Nice catch!

  7. Currently the Wednesday night run goes to the Portlands. Or it did up until the spur was cut at Logan Avenue for repairs.

    What is the other day it runs? I heard it operated on Sunday once but had no clue it was a twice a week job here. I’ve heard of 546 running on the GECO during Saturday midday as recently as 2014 as well. I’m sure there’s still plenty I don’t know.

  8. 543 is ordered out of Oakville at 2100 hrs. Its not likely that 543 will continue to operate down on the waterfront much longer. They are only scheduled to go there 2 times a week

  9. Nice catch, what time does 543 usually leave oakville when it runs?

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